A friend of mine from high school has posted a couple of thought provoking questions on his Facebook page this weekend. I’ll allow you a moment to swallow your disbelief that
A. Finding one’s high school friends on FB is ever a good thing &
B. That anyone posts thought provoking questions and they do not lead to nasty arguments.
I swear both are possible.
Anyhow, miracles aside (I do happen to befriend awesome people fo lyfe), I was forced to admit something to myself this morning that was honestly unrelated in any way to his questions. But the provocation of thoughts sometimes draws out other thoughts. Thoughts are fun like that; they multiply.
I am capable of taking offense.
“So?” you ask. “Who ain’t?” But, I protest, I so frequently tell people I’m never offended by anything. Yet the truth, if I’m super honest with myself, is that I’m actually offended by a ton of things, but I handle it differently. I will enumerate the process so people who cling to their offendedness can understand:
1. A statement is made that offends me, or I see something that offends me (a strapless wedding gown, a Toyota Corolla, a sweeping generalization meme, etc)
2. I choose not to react to it or dwell on it.
Were you expecting more? Offense is now a cottage industry. Nay, it seems a sprawling corporate industry where some genteel lamb of a creature reads a thing that seems sort of mean or whatever & then makes it his/her mission in life to
A. Have a really horrible day requiring endless analysis of the offense
B. Attempt to destroy the offender & everything he/she has ever loved.
No effort is made to clarify the objectives of the alleged offender because it’s assumed the person is evil, a half breed, or a full breed, whichever is the opposite of the offended flower. No effort is made to calm down & get on with one’s life because that would end the wild & rollicking roller coaster of exciting offense emotions such as indignation, righteousness, having a mission outside of binging on Netflix, & having excuses to make poor food choices. Or whatever. I have no idea because being perpetually offended seems like a horrible time to me.
Yet I am, truly, not jokingly, offended by a great many things. I get offended by things that aren’t even leveled at me, because I find the level of intellectual dishonesty offensive. I am offended by how I see people I don’t know treat other people I don’t know. I am offended by the zeitgeist. I am offended by my well meaning friends. I am offended by the casual way people don’t care about each other or aren’t concerned about tragedies in other countries. Deeply, passionately offended. All the time. Every day. By the way people smell & make sounds with their mouths. By the way they drive. By how they talk to the bag boy. Everyone. Sometimes a few times an hour, if I’m online.
But I let it go. So many things are not worth fighting about. So many things can be addressed by modeling kind behaviour. So many people are utterly stuck in their behaviour patterns & are so sensitive about them that it’s not worth offending them back.
I used to say things. “That’s not true, though. Here, I found an article for you.” Or “Why do you think that?” That does actually yield results…1 out of 10 times. And that’s still pretty good. But now we’re all on social media, talking to each other passively or otherwise many times a day, & God never wired us to engage on such a level. I don’t even think Satan could have imagined the political meme, or the anonymous troll.
So sure, get offended. With so many anonymous opinions, we are bound to encounter something that makes us insane with rage online & in our increasingly less genteel world. But let it go. Unless someone’s behaviour is literally preventing you from getting on with your life, get on with your life. It’s more fun!